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Afr(io)futurism: Debates, Contestations, Interventions


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Afrofuturist and Africanfuturist movements imaginatively construct interrelated futures with deep historical and spiritual roots shaped by the trajectories of human experiences in Africa and among its diasporas. Although distinct in emphases, Africanfuturism and Afrofuturism are interconnected strains of thought primarily aided by their use of multimedia and by their commitment to interdisciplinary interventions in the making and theorizing of futures. In order to capture both the divergence and convergence of these two streams of futuristic consciousness and sensibilities, this working group adopts the term Afr(io)futurism as a conceptual bridge to investigate the interventions, debates, contestations taking place between these two perspectives. From such a position, we conceptualize futures as nonlinear, plural, and inevitably entangled with power structures, silences, (ab)negation, and aesthetics. This working group is interested in investigating questions such as: What constitutes multiplicity in Afr(io)futurism? What kinds of utopias and aporias Afr(io)futures put forth and which ones are silenced and evaded? How does power work along or against the actualization of alternative futures? How does one negotiate between established structures and the agency to create desired futures in Africa and its diasporas? How is contestation contextualized and to what extent does it facilitate convergence of solidarity between African and its diasporas? Thus understood, Afr(io)futurism stretches far beyond the fields of speculative fiction and the Arts. Seeking different perspectives on Afr(io)futurism, we invite people from different disciplinary backgrounds and spatial foci.

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